The leaders of public universities work closely with the business community, which further develops and utilizes the technology that is created to spur economic growth. My organization, APLU, is an active member of the Task Force on American Innovation — an alliance of America’s most innovative companies, leading research universities and largest scientific societies. The task force recently urged President Barack Obama and congressional leaders to avoid the sequester. This show of unity illustrates how devastating the sequester would be for all sectors of our economy.
We have to deal with budget deficits and a rising debt responsibly, but massive, indiscriminate cuts to areas that will actually grow our economy are misguided at best. A true solution should involve revenue as well as serious entitlement and tax changes. We also must make targeted investments in things like research and education that will grow our economy and lead to better days. This show of unity illustrates how devastating the sequester would be for all sectors of our economy and how important federally supported research is to these diverse sectors.
Technology leads to new and growing companies, which leads to new jobs, which leads to new revenue, which leads to more funding to invest in new innovation. This economic circle of life is critical for our people and the long-term success of our country.
We’re just days away from having these massive cuts enacted. At this writing, Washington is engaged in blaming the other guy with few prospects of an immediate solution. But the problem does not go away on the morning of March 1.
The White House and Congress must pull together wisely and quickly. Otherwise at some date in the future a critical technological breakthrough will be developed in Shanghai that should have been done at Berkeley. It’s a sad and unnecessary possibility that’s all too close to becoming reality. The U.S. deserves better for the sake of this and future generations.
Peter McPherson is president of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. Previously, he served as president of Michigan State University and deputy secretary of the Treasury.